Youth Performing Arts to Hold Summer Musical Theater Intensive at Shore

Veteran North Shore artists and educators are launching Youth Performing Arts, a music and theater education organization, this summer with a three-week musical theater intensive geared toward high school students at the state-of-the-art Trustey Family Theatre at Shore Country Day School.

“We’ve been looking for the right opportunity to share this amazing facility with the community, and we think we’ve found it,” says program director Sarah Carlin, a longtime performer and director on the North Shore as well as a theater arts teacher at Shore. “There’s a real need in our area right now for a program for aspiring high schoolers who are eager to have a healthy, meaningful performance experience, and Youth Performing Arts brings together a collective of experienced performing artists and educators who are passionate about tapping into the excitement young performers have for these art forms.”

During the three-week Summer Theater Intensive from June 29 to July 18, students will have the opportunity to rehearse and stage public performances of the hot Broadway musical Be More Chill, an innovative sci-fi comedy that has a passionate young fan following. Complete with a soundtrack that’s been streamed more than any other contemporary musical except Hamilton, says Carlin, “Be More Chill speaks to our time of digital lifestyles and the idea that the digital world and social media are where life happens. But this hilarious musical examines that idea and turns it on its head with a message that ultimately young people must decide who they want to be, and who they can be.”

According to music director Janet Glasser, a fixture at area theater companies who’s been active in musical theater for over three decades, “We selected this musical not only because it’s very popular with teens, but also because it’s accompanied by a rock band and has a high difficulty level—it will challenge even the most experienced young performer. This will definitely be an experience that goes beyond the normal teen musical.”

“People who have seen the middle school plays and musicals at Shore Country Day School say they look like high school productions,” says Carlin. “Our goal in the Summer Theater Intensive is to take that up another level, producing a piece that you might see in a college or conservatory.” Because the program will include an audition process, Carlin explains, “We expect to find some really talented high schoolers who are ready for a fast-paced summer, with a lot of discipline and a serious work ethic. If they know that you’re setting the bar high, they usually exceed their own expectations.”

Along with rehearsal, participants will join in daily workshops in improvisation, dance, circus and movement arts, and even stage combat. “These are all skills that build a foundation for any actor,” according to Carlin. A small group of participants will also be able to explore the technical side of theater by working with technical director Vincent Laino, an Emerson college graduate with credentials that include shows at the Wang and Colonial theatres. “There will be room for about five students to get very familiar with the lighting and sound technology in the Trustey Family Theatre, learn how to design and build sets, and operate lights and sound during the performances.”

“There are many programs that offer musical theater and performance experience in our area during the summer months,” admits Glasser. “What will set our program apart is the fast pace and the high level of production quality. A lot of programs focus on participation and exposure, which are certainly valuable, but we’re looking to provide polish for those who are in search of a more professional-level experience in a beautifully equipped theater.”

“We’re eager to work with high schoolers who already have a blend of experiences behind them,” adds Carlin. “When young performers start seeing their future in theater, they’re hungry for a high-quality program like Youth Performing Arts. And with this show, we have an opportunity to do something a little bit edgier that meets talented high schoolers where they are.”

Also unique about the program, according to Carlin, is that “We’re all educators and performers. That means we not only have high standards for inspiring young people in a healthy way, but we also know how to advise and mentor aspiring performers in the real business of being a professional in the theater.”

Led by educators who are veteran performers in their own right, Youth Performing Arts at Shore Country Day School seems poised for rapid word-of-mouth growth. Says Carlin, “Not only is the experience going to be impactful and meaningful, but the performances themselves will be comparable to any professional performance in the area. The public is going to want to come and see these shows.”

Youth Performing Arts Summer Theater Intensive runs June 29 through July 18, 2020, on the campus of Shore Country Day School. Interested performers ages 13-18 are invited to pre-register for the program at ypa.shoreschool.org.
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    • Sarah Carlin and Janet Glasser

    • The Trustey Family Theatre

    • A scene from 'Be More Chill'